Books for teaching kids about their bodies and appropriate touch

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Teaching Clarissa about her body is one of my jobs as a mom. She’s known the correct names for a while and we’ve talked about who is allowed to touch her and where. I have found a few books on the subject of body parts and appropriate touch for young children that I thought I would share.

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Amazing You! by Dr Gail Saltz, geared toward preschoolers, is currently one of Clarissa’s favorite books. She loves learning about the human body so she was very excited to learn about private parts and what their functions are. This picture book is easy to read and has illustrations that are appropriate for little kids. It says, “When a man and woman love each other and decide that they want to have a baby, a man’s sperm joins with a woman’s egg. From the egg and sperm, a baby will grow.” But that’s as detailed as it gets about reproduction in this book.

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The Story of Me and Before I was Born are the first two books in a series called “God’s Design For Sex.”

The Story of Me by Stan and Brenna Jones says that it is geared towards age 3 to 5. I think that is pretty accurate. The book talks about giving babies to married people to raise. It talks about a baby growing inside a mommy. The story introduces terms like womb, uterus, and umbilical cord. It also discusses vaginal birth, c-section, and breastfeeding in a way that little kids understand. They even introduced the idea of good touch and bad touch.

Before I was Born by Carolyn Nystrom is written for children ages 5 to 8. This book focuses on the physical differences between boys and girls. It says that God made them different and He said it was good. The book introduced the idea of sex being a gift for married couples and how a baby is made. It also discusses how a baby develops inside his mother.

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Good Pictures Bad Pictures Jr by Kristen Jenson introduces the idea of pornography and talks about what you should do if you see something that you should not see. This one reads a little awkwardly out loud but led to great discussions.

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My least favorite was I Said No! A Kid’s Guide to Keeping Private Parts Private by Zack and Kimberly King. I appreciate what the book was trying to do. It was about a boy who went to a sleepover and his friend wanted to show him his private parts. Reading the words as they were written was very awkward. I found myself paraphrasing to to appease my ears. But it did bring about some great discussions between Clarissa and I.

The changing nature of Kindergarten

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Clarissa and I did a preschool curriculum together last school year. She really liked it in the beginning and then started to lose interest in April so we stopped. By May she was asking to do “real school” at home so I planned a June start to kindergarten.

I spent hours looking through all of my school supplies and the activities that I had downloaded. I tried a homeschool planning course to see if that would help me. But I think that stressed me out more because it encouraged me to plan for the entire year before I start the school year. I decided to plan unit studies since I don’t have a formal curriculum to just break down into sections. I did make an outline of what units I thought we would do this year, but I knew it could change because I wasn’t sure how much Clarissa would enjoy doing each day.

I wanted to start slow and get into a habit of doing lessons 20-30 minutes per day just four times per week. Our June Bible story was about Joseph (his coat, his brothers, and his life in Egypt). We read some of the Bible story each day and did a few crafts. We spent some time learning about our five senses, colors, shapes, and emotions. She also learned how to make a peanut butter sandwich and a peanut butter waffle. Some days Clarissa would enjoy school so much that she wanted to do more so we would do two or three days worth of lessons in one day and then she wouldn’t want to do school for a few days. The weather was so nice that we would often do school outside.

In July, we started doing more academics, adding letters and numbers to our days. We went to Japan in July so we spent some time watching videos and reading books about Japan. We also learned about the letter J; it’s sound and how to write it. I wanted to spend the month memorizing Jeremiah 29:11 instead of focusing on a Bible story, but Clarissa kept asking for Bible stories anyway so we did both. I knew that one of our next family adventures would be to the aquarium so we started studying sea animals when we returned from Japan. We learned about the letter C and Clarissa practiced writing her first name. She can already count past 10 but we focused on writing just those numbers and counting things or playing board games that require counting dice and spaces.

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By mid July, Tim thought that I was spending way too much time planning our activities. He suggested that I buy some curriculum instead of making my own in order to make the planning of school less stressful. I agreed that although I enjoy planning, I was spending too much time “trying to do it right.” I was also printing so much that we were spending plenty on ink. So I went online and ordered some kindergarten books.

In August, Clarissa learned how to make her bed. Since it was been so hot outside in Korea, her new favorite place to do school was actually on her bed. We spent two weeks reviewing a literature study on Paddington Bear that was excellent. We then went back to studying ocean animals, worked on counting and writing numbers to 20, and learned the sounds and letters P, B, F, and S. We focused on Bible stories about fish; Jonah, Jesus calms the storm, and feeding the 5,000. For her birthday we went to an aquarium in Seoul and she really enjoyed looking at all of the animals and feeding the fish. At the aquarium, Clarissa and Tim got really excited about the kits to grow triops and angel fairy shrimp, so we have a few new pets at our house. We learned about life cycles too.

September was less stressful. The weather was cooler so we read and explored outside again. I also have a reading curriculum, math workbooks, and some unit studies that we both enjoy so I don’t have to do as much prep. We also read a lot of books. When we studied Noah’s Ark we spent a couple of weeks reading about animals. After a walk last weekend, she is all about bugs. I am so thankful for the library these days! Clarissa is also enjoying attending AWANA, a Korean class, and gymnastics one hour each per week to round out our lessons.

What Clarissa has been teaching me about seeds

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I think it’s easy to get frustrated with the people around me. Especially when I feel like I’ve spent a lot of time pouring myself into something for someone else and I don’t see much progress. Whether it’s helping a friend or trying to convince my five year old to eat an actual fruit or vegetable instead of a fruit squeeze and seaweed.

A few weeks ago, Tim and I were discussing Clarissa’s behavior. I said that I thought she would obey better when she was saved and actively following Jesus. Tim said, “I thought you said she was saved.” “Well, she says she believes in Jesus but I’m not really sure she understands sin and her need for a Savior.” Cue some interesting conversations with Clarissa that included, “So at gymnastics today one of my friends asked me what I was going to be for Halloween and I told her nothing. We love God.” I stand corrected.

Sometimes getting to church is such a battle on a Sunday morning and Clarissa says she doesn’t want to go. So then we finally get there, late as usual, and I get her all set up with her notebook to draw during worship time. Sometimes during the music time, she will tap me so I can look at her drawings. Sometimes they are polar bears hunting in Antarctica. But this week was different.

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The first time she tapped me wanted me to see the Earth with all of the islands and that Jesus was in the clouds. The second time, she had added hearts and said that all of the islands love Jesus. At the end, she said, “This is me. I love Jesus. Can you please write at the top of the page: I am happy that Jesus exists.” What?! Little Miss “I don’t want to go to church” is having a real moment with God.

So I just wanted to encourage my reader. You never know what God is going to do with the seeds that you plant. It’s easy to get frustrated when you feel like what you are saying or doing isn’t going anywhere. But I was reminded this week that it’s not my job to make fruit happen.

“I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God has been making it grow. So neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow. The one who plants and the one who waters have one purpose, and they will each be rewarded according to their own labor. For we are co-workers in God’s service; you are God’s field, God’s building.” 1 Corinthians 3:6-9

It’s my job to plant the seeds. It’s just my job to be obedient to do the things He tells me. God is going to do what God is going to do with those seeds. So keep plugging along with your kids, neighbors, and co-workers. We may not see the fruit of what we’re doing now. But God does have a plan for it.

How can you be 5 years old already?

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It’s funny because when I was pregnant, nine months felt like forever. But once Clarissa was born, time seemed to speed up. Maybe that is slightly exaggerated. The first two months where she didn’t know the difference between night and day dragged a bit too. But once I was getting five hour stretches of sleep at night and started enjoying my daughter, I could enjoy the moment better. I cannot believe that Clarissa is five years old. It does not seem like it has actually been five YEARS since we met her.

Clarissa has been asking me to teach her to read on and off since she was three. I really wanted her to have fun and play so while we did do some preschool this year, we didn’t do a lot of academics each day. She started to want more in the spring so we officially started kindergarten in June. She still loves me to read to her and will “read” to herself for a while too. She is starting to enjoy tracing/writing letters more. Her favorite is probably math though. She enjoys counting and puzzles. She actually enjoys homeschooling so much that when people ask her about starting kindergarten in the fall she says something like, “I am homeschooled FOREVER. Mommy teaches me at home and I will NEVER go to real school.” She gets really upset if we ask her if she wants to go to school.

Clarissa enjoys going to Sunday school. She has learned a few Bible verses and reminds me to read a Bible story during school each day. She said she wants to try AWANA this year and is very much looking forward to gymnastics starting again in September. Today she told me that she has “been waiting a long time for that!”

I think Clarissa is an introvert. She enjoys being with a small group that she knows. If we go somewhere loud or with a large group of kids she asks to leave very quickly. She is sensitive to loud noise in general. She always hides in her room and closes the door when I vacuum and won’t see movies in the theater anymore because it is too loud.

As usual, Clarissa is very verbal and wants to tell you her opinion about EVERYTHING. She is not very gracious if you have a different opinion so we are working on that. She also has a very vivid imagination so she tells great stories. She has also started saving her screen time for when daddy is home in the evening so that she can watch him play video games or watch a show together.

Clarissa wants a baby sister so badly. Actually she wants two sisters but if one of them a brother, it’s okay. For her birthday, she requested a bunk bed so that she can “share a room with her sister.”

She seems to have really matured lately. She no longer requires the stroller to walk to post or for a day of exploring. Clarissa gave away her My Little Pony toys and wants to play with her baby doll. She is always the mom. She plays dress up often as well and wants to pretend to be her favorite characters on TV. Her current favorite is Eva from Wakfu so she can often be found wearing boots inside the house and carrying around her bow and arrow. She also enjoys playing outside and making crafts. I think she would live at the pool or beach if I let her.

Some of my favorite Clarissa sayings right now:

  • I prefer dogs (poor Mittens. Though they still have many tender moments)
  • It’s not my stuffed animal, it’s my pet
  • Our family is not alone in this car… I see a bug in here!
  • Constructions (instructions)
  • Frusterated (frustrated)
  • Figerate (I need to figure it out)
  • I trickstered you!
  • Interdasting (interesting)
  • Inzausting (exhausting)
  • Great Wall of Korea
  • Throft store (thrift store)
  • I am writing kid letters (when she just scribbles instead of writing English letters)

Summer School Days

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Clarissa has been asking me to teach her to read off and on since before she was potty trained. She constantly asked to start kindergarten this spring so I spent May planning what I wanted our year together to look like.

In June, we officially started kindergarten. I knew that I wanted to start slow so I planned for 20-30 minutes of lessons, four days per week. Some days were like binge days for her and she would do two or three days worth in one sitting because she didn’t want to stop. So my July plans had more to do each day.

Omi sent us a scavenger hunt from a magazine. We decided that we wanted to do it across the street at Nonseong Park. Clarissa and I thought it would be fun to do school outside as well so we packed our school books, some crayons, and a clipboard in my backpack. On the way out the door, Clarissa decided to ride her bike and also bring the kite.

Clarissa rode her bike across the street and then we climbed the hill to fly the kite. As I set my bookbag down, Clarissa already had her kite in the air. This was only her second time flying a kite, but she did extremely well.

When we needed a water break, we headed to the pavilion on the hill to do our Bible time.

Then we did our scavenger hunt. Clarissa had a great time finding the items on the list like a crooked stick, a bug that crawls, something that smells good, and something that feels rough. The only thing we didn’t find was an acorn. But we found a pinecone instead.

We reviewed our five senses to talk about what we did on our scavenger hunt and drew pictures.

We took another break to play on the Korean exercise equipment and then headed back to the pavilion to read our books for the day.

Then we headed back up the hill for more kite flying fun. She went on the very top and said she was walking on the Hwaseong Fortress.

When we had enough we headed home by bike. Our “school day” took about two hours with all the breaks but we both really enjoyed it.

Other days, we brought our schoolwork to one of the playgrounds in our apartment complex. We would bring our books and schoolwork outside and she would do an activity or two, go play, and come back to complete another activity.

We have also been on a lot of field trips this summer. We learned about animals at the National Institute of Ecology, fed fish at the aquarium in Seoul, hiked the Hwaseong Fortress wall, touched bugs at the Asan Insect Museum, saw animals at the Ueno Zoo, and learned about Japan before our trip to Tokyo.

Because our school days were short, we had plenty of time to go swimming or play with friends. I think this was one of our favorite summers together. I wonder what school should look like for fall?

God’s Girl Says Yes

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Wynter Pitts wrote a book with her husband last year about praying for your daughter called She is Yours. I loved it. She also has a new podcast that I have been listening to. So when the opportunity presented itself to be on her book launch team for her latest book, God’s Girl Says Yes, I knew I wanted to be a part of it.

Her last book was for parents, but this one is for girls. There are not any pictures so it will probably be a few years before Clarissa is ready to read it, but I look forward to reading this book with her one day. Wynter also has a magazine for girls that looks great!

Each of the 16 chapters in God’s Girl Says Yes has a specific message for your girl with scriptures, a prayer, and personal stories about either Wynter or a girl in elementary school. I think these stories will really help to build Clarissa’s faith and to show her that you do not have to wait until you are a grown up to do big things for God. She goes through the fruit of the spirit as a whole passage of scripture and then breaks up each individual fruit into its own chapter.

The book is very relatable. It sounds like a conversation between friends. There are several places to answer questions that will really make your girl think. Some of my favorite thoughts from the book:

  • “The Israelites’ story shows us how difficult it is to make good choices all the time. Sometimes saying yes day after day can be really hard…God loves His people and wants His people to choose Him. He entered into a relationship with Israel on purpose. He knew what was best for them, and He knows what is best for you.”
  • “As you say yes to the things God asks you to say yes to, you will have to say no to other things – to things that are unhelpful and that He doesn’t want for you. When you say yes to God and walk with Him on the path He has chosen for you, amazing things can happen. “
  • She does a good job of explaining why we have rules and learning self control.
  • “God gave us more than rules-He also gave us a relationship with him… Our life is not about rules. It’s actually about being free to live an amazing adventure with God.”
  • Chapter 15 was probably my favorite. She talks about trusting God to have a plan for your life and using your gifts and talents for him.

I really enjoyed this book. I look forward to reading it again with Clarissa soon.

Clarissa 4.5

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Clarissa is growing up so fast. I can’t believe she will be four and a half years old on Tuesday. It seems like every day she says or does something that surprises me. She is also starting to look tall to me (until we leave the house and stands next to one of her actually tall friends).

Clarissa has always enjoyed reading. She sometimes still stays up with a reading lamp at bedtime. What has changed is that she tries to learn from her books now or act them out. For example, we recently read a book about a girl who turned her bedroom into her own country. Immediately after we read this book, Clarissa decided to turn her room into “Clarissavania,” complete with a flag, rules, money, and national treasures.

She and Mittens really do act like sisters. They love each other one minute and annoy each other the next. Clarissa often likes to pick out treats or presents for Mittens at the PX and Mittens sleeps in Clarissa’s bed every night.

Clarissa likes to dress herself. She is getting quite girly and prefers skirts to pants. She often pretends to be one of the Equestria Girls. She also prefers to wear boots instead of sneakers. She sometimes pretends to be an Equestria Girl and give me a concert.

I thought that she had given up on Legos in favor of Barbies. But in the past few weeks has been more interested in building Lego cities. She also plays a game she calls “umbrella party.” This basically entails bringing the big umbrella into the living room and putting a bunch of toys next to it to play there. Her favorite game to play is called “family.” Sometimes she is the mom and puts a baby doll in her shirt and in a few minutes pulls it out and says, “look I had my baby!” and proceeds to take care of it. The baby needs to be nursed, have a diaper change, and put in her crib. Other times, the doll is her baby sister and she tells me to nurse it, but she does everything else.

She jumps on her trampoline every day. The trampoline also serves as a stage for a concert. Clarissa and I also like to play Just Dance together on the Wii. This week she has started to get very silly with it. Half the time, instead of dancing with me she just does something silly into the camera because she wants to see the playback.

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Clarissa is finally starting to eat more foods. She will eat chicken and scrambled eggs consistently and will even occasionally eat part of a bison burger. She will randomly eat fruit like apples, strawberries, and grapes. She will eat any flavor of fruit squeeze though. Vegetables are still pretty elusive unless you count seaweed.

Her favorite movie right now is Home Alone. She thinks the bad guys getting beat up is hilarious.

Clarissa still enjoys doing school with me. When she was younger, I thought she was going to be left handed. At this point, I think she is ambidextrous. She will use both hands when she draws or writes letters. Clarissa has really enjoyed coloring with markers lately.

Clarissa still prefers play dates with one child at a time but is getting more comfortable with larger groups, especially at church where it is the same group each week.

I always like to write down her new sayings so I will remember the funny things she says:

More upper or downer (go up or down)

Figerate (figure something out)

Comforter (comfortable)

Clo (clothes)

Insterding (interesting)

Skewel (school)

Fabulous!

I’ll show ya

What the heck?!

Constructions (instructions)

The next time you and Daddy go on a date, I don’t need a babysitter. God will protect me.

Mommy come with me. I’m getting lonely (if she needs to go to the bathroom).

She and Tim also spent a month or two of regular arguments at the dinner table about whether or not there should be a baby in my tummy. She has recently given up on that and has started to say, “we need to move to America so we can adopt my sister.” The other reason she wants to move to America immediately is so that we will be a two car family. Apparently she is tired of walking with Mommy during the week…